The Royole FlexPai flexible, foldable smartphone has been officially launched at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It's the world's first foldable smartphone / tablet, and we already knew what it looked like and some of its features after the handset was soft launched towards the end of 2018 when it was made available to developers.
While it may be the first, we expect some stiff competition to arrive in the following months, with the hotly rumored Samsung Galaxy X likely to lead the charge, while LG, Huawei and Xiaomi are also all tipped to launch foldable phones in 2019.
Royole's CES 2019 press conference is taking place right now, and we'll be updating this page live with all the additional details revealed about the FlexPai.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The world's first foldable smartphone
- When is it out? Available to developers now
- What does it cost? The developer version starts at $1,318 (around £1,035, AU$1,850) for the 128GB model
Royole FlexPai release date
Royole is yet to announce the FlexPai release date, but its press conference is still happening, so if it mentions one we'll update you right here.
The handset is available to developers though, with the Royole website claiming handsets started shipping in December 2018, but it's currently unclear whether it has managed to fulfill this promise.
Royole FlexPai price
We're yet to get a final Royole FlexPai price, but we already know that it's going to be an expensive piece of kit – no surprise considering the cutting edge, foldable technology that it's packing.
The developer version of the handset starts at $1,318 (around £1,035, AU$1,850) for the 128GB version, while the 256GB developer FlexPai costs $1,469 (around £1,150, AU$2,060).
Royole FlexPai display
Unsurprisingly, the main attraction on the Royole FlexPai is its large, flexible AMOLED display which can be folded in half.
When folded out in tablet mode, it measures 7.8 inches, has a 4:3 aspect ratio and boasts a QHD resolution of 1920 x 1440 which equates to a pixel density of 308ppi.
It means its display isn't as sharp as a tradition smartphone QHD display, as the pixels are stretched over a larger canvas.
When folded in half you get around a 4-inch display, with the other side of the screen turning off to save power. However you do get a sliver of additional screen on the hinge of the fold, providing shortcuts to apps such as the camera.
When folded, the screen doesn't sit completely flat against the other half of the phone, with a wedged fold creating a slightly awkward shape. The screen is held in place by magnets, so it shouldn't try and unfold itself.
Royole FlexPai design
The Royole FlexPai has relatively slender bezels around three sides of the screen, but to the left of the display (when held in landscape) you'll notice there's a much thicker fourth bezel.
This is where many of the components will be housed, included the cameras, as while the screen is flexible, most of the other components won't be.
There's a fingerprint scanner and a dual SIM tray next to a USB-C port, but there is no headphone jack on FlexPai. You do get a USB-C to 3.5mm connector in the box although, although with a set of earphones with a USB-C connection on them.
The Royole FlexPai measures 190.3mm x 134 x 7.6mm (when in expanded mode) and weighs 320g, making it considerably heavier than most flagship phones which tip the scales around the 200g mark.
It's understandable though, as the FlexPai has a bigger screen then those handsets, but it's going to be rather chunky when folded in half. That could make it a difficult device to slide into a pocket or small bag.
Royole FlexPai power and storage
The Royole FlexPai packs in a top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, although which version of the 800 series it is remains to be seen. We'll update this article as soon as we know more.
That chipset is paired with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and you also get the choice of 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. If that's not enough space, the FlexPai packs a microSD slot, which supports memory cards up to 256GB in size.
There's also a 3,800mAh battery packed inside the handset, which feels a little small considering the size of the screen on the FlexPai. Both the Huawei Mate 20 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 have bigger batteries.
Royole FlexPai operating system
The Royole FlexPai operating system is based on Android 9 Pie, which is the latest installment from Google, but it has the firm's own Water OS over the top.
The custom interface is required as Android doesn't currently support folding displays, which means Royole has had to adapt the operating system to work with the FlexPai.
Water OS is able to detect whether you have the FlexPai in tablet or phone mode, and will automatically adapt to suit the mode you're in.
Royole FlexPai cameras
The Royole FlexPai has a dual-camera setup, with a 16MP camera alongside a 20MP snapper housed in the chunky bezel to the left of the screen (when viewed in landscape tablet mode).
There's a flash, and the cameras feature OIS (optical image stabilization) which should hopefully aid their low-light performance.
Due to the folding nature of the FlexPai, there's no separate selfie camera, as the handset can be folded round to make the cameras either front or rear facing.
- Want more CES 2019 highlights? TechRadar is hands-on with 8K TVs and foldable, rollable displays, along with new laptops and Alexa-enabled smart gadgets. Check out everything we've seen, live from Las Vegas!